The breeding season has begun in the Wadden Sea National Park. Until the end of July, tens of thousands of birds are pairing on the salt marshes, beaches and dunes along the North Sea coast.
During this time, terns, gulls, waders and other shorebirds use the Wadden Sea as a nursery for their offspring. Visitors should observe them only at an appropriate distance. The National Park Service explicitly warns walkers not to jeopardize the brooding birds with their behavior. Dogs must be kept on a leash. Even kites are banned because they look like birds of prey in the sky and scare the nesting birds.
"Many birds breed inconspicuously," said Hendrik Brunckhorst, spokesman for the National Park Service on Wednesday. Visitors are usually unaware that they are getting too close and possibly endangering the brood. Many species unobtrusively move out of the nest when people approach and then leave the eggs or chicks unprotected.
Guided Walks across the Mudflats
The main breeding grounds are therefore marked or labeled by pile rows and are closed to the public until the end of the breeding season in late July. "If all visitors to the national parks behave with consideration, they can help to make this breeding season successful."
If you want to avoid doing anything wrong, the best thing is to take a guided tour of the mudflats. Here, visitors can not only enjoy the peace but also learn more about the unique ecosystem, which is determined by the tides - and home to more than 10,000 plant and animal species. The Wadden Sea has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009.
cc/ej (dpa, Wadden Sea National Park)